Foilboarding is gaining popularity. What is possible with a foilboard is getting pushed all throughout the watersports industry. The America’s Cup boats are showing the world how efficient they can be with hydrofoil technology. Originating with foils for kiteboarders, Lift has created an electric foil that doesn’t require a kite to get going. Kai Lenny is showing how efficient a foil can be with both a surfboard and SUP. One thing is for certain, foilboarding is here to stay.
If you’ve never foilboarded before the sensation of foilboarding with a kite is like floating on a cloud. You can go out in super light winds with a small kite size and cruise effortlessly through the water. The angles you get with a foilboard are significantly better than with a twintip board. Even in light winds you can almost go directly into the wind making foilboards a perfect lightwind weapon for the Tampa Bay area.
The racing scene is popular but just because you don’t have any interest in racing doesn’t mean you can’t foil. With such efficiency, foilboarding is perfect for exploring places you may not be able to get to with a twintip. The St Petersburg area has tons of little islands you can cruise to. Even though there’s mostly flat water around the Tampa Bay area, each popular kite spot has an area deep enough to foilboard. Once you get going it’s easy to get to the channels where you can then go anywhere.
The industry has associated narrow, high aspect ram air kites with foilboarding but ram air kites can be a hassle for the average rider. If you’re not competing in any races, you don’t need to have a ram air kite to enjoy a light wind session on a foilboard. When the winds are too light for a lesson, 7-11 mph, I’ll take out the Cabrinha Double Agent with a 12m Cabrinha Drifter kite. The Drifter is the complete opposite of most ram air kites, it’s a low aspect, squared off kite. While I’m foilboarding, I enjoy a quick turning kite where I have complete control of the power. The Double Agent, Drifter combination is outstanding in the Gulf with the light afternoon sea breezes. The low aspect, surf style kite makes for a great combination with a foilboard.
Damien Leroy makes freestyle with a foilboard look too easy. It may be more dangerous doing jumps with a foilboard, but it is definitely possible. The video of Damo doing some technical handlepass tricks with the foilboard was in light winds. Typically, a rider would need stronger winds to do the jumps Damo was doing but since the foilboard is so efficient in light winds, he was able to create the power he needed. A lower aspect foil like the Cabrinha Double Agent makes it easier to do jumps because of the increased stability.
With increased stability and the option to choose a shorter mast, manufacturers have made it easier than ever to learn how to foilboard. Even the original low aspect foils were difficult to learn on because of their shakiness. The more recent designs are more stable and have greater speed ranges. A shorter mast with a low aspect foil combination gets people learning how to foilboard under an hour on average. Once you develop the muscle memory, foilboarding is easy and you can explore any style of riding that fits you.